Productivity growth ‘strongest since 2008’

UK productivity showed the strongest successive quarters of growth in the second half of last year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In the 6 months to December 2017, productivity growth saw higher levels than any 2 consecutive quarters since the recession struck in 2008.

Hourly output – the ONS’ main measure of labour productivity – increased 0.8% between October and December 2017, following growth of 0.9% in the previous quarter.

Earnings also rose 2.5% from 2016 to 2017, but this growth did not match the rate of inflation at 3%.

Firms continued to face difficulty filling roles with skilled workers, as the number of vacancies between November 2017 and January 2018 swelled to 70,000 year-on-year.

Suren Thiru, head of economics and business finance at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“More subdued economic conditions together with high upfront business costs are likely to limit the extent to which wages are likely to rise.

“The continued rise in job vacancies is further confirmation of the chronic skills shortages faced by businesses across the UK.

“It is vital that more is done to support firms looking to recruit and grow their business.”

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